• 27Dec

    This is a quick vegan delicacy I whipped up the other day for brunch…it’s almost a pain perdu – sans egg – and really bloody tasty.

    I used:

    1 pound Oyster mushrooms
    1/2 a sweet pepper
    1 clove garlic (crushed/finely diced)
    Fresh Oregano (about a teaspoon)
    Lemon Juice
    Olive Oil
    Stale bread (I used potato bread; challah would be nice)
    White wine
    Soy sauce

    Wash, pat dry, and slice your mushrooms and finely dice your pepper. Heat the oil in a largeish pan over medium-high heat. When it’s to temperature, toss in the peppers, half your chopped oregano, half of your garlic, and a splash of soy sauce. Let that cook about 5 minutes, until it begins to brown. Turn the heat down to medium, and add your mushrooms, tossing with some lemon juice, and then make sure they are all flat (not on top of one another), sprinkling the remaining garlic and oregano over top. Let that cook for 5 minutes or so, stirring occasionally, until they are done. Turn on your vent fan and the moisture will go out more quickly – this is good.

    When the ‘shrooms are cooked, remove all that to a bowl. Take 2 slices of bread and put them in the pan, upping the heat to high. Toast on both sides, sopping up most of the leftover oil. Remove and
    plate those. Now, deglaze your pan (which should have some nice charred bits hanging about in it) with the wine, and another splash of soy sauce.

    Top the toast with the mushrooms and peppers, and then the reduced deglazing liquid. Delicious!

    -MAW

  • 16Dec

    In My Inbox.

    -JAY
    ———-

    On Saturday, December 18, Brightest Young Things & Flying Dog Ales are hosting a Christmas Lights Art Car Parade in Washington, DC.

    The mission of Christmas Lights is for a band of merry revelers in Art Cars to descend upon Georgetown, grand marshaled by the Flying Dog Winnebago. (Willie’s Bus ain’t got nothing on this Gonzo land yacht.) The parade is open to the public, so Flying Dog and Brightest Young Things encourage everyone to decorate their vehicles and join in for what is guaranteed to be a night for the history books.

    TIMELINE/ALL THE DETAILS YOU NEED:

    * Parade participants will assemble at Jack’s Boathouse at 7 pm for a welcome reception featuring CakeLove Gonzo Cupcakes (made with Flying Dog’s Gonzo Imperial Porter) and hot cider. From there, the plan of attack is as follows. Please note that times are approximate.
    * 8 pm: Head down K St to Rock Creek Parkway, up to Politics and Prose
    * 8:30 pm: Politics and Prose – Celebrity Guests’ LIVE Reading of How The Grinch Stole Christmas! with complimentary Flying Dog beers.
    * 9:30 pm: Comet Ping Pong culmination party with Flying Dog draft specials, LIVE music from Sherell Rowe (DC) and Sidewalk Driver (Boston), and all sorts of kick ass awards for a variety of superlatives relevant to the night’s festivities.

    In addition to Flying Dog and Brightest Young Things, the Kirk and Mike Show on 105.9 The Edge will be spreading the Christmas Lights gospel in a lead up to the culminating parade on Saturday evening.

    In keeping with the holiday spirit, this entire event is FREE. All car entries will need a designated driver on hand at the start of the Christmas Lights parade. In addition to art cars, DC’s hardcore cyclists are also welcome to participate with art bicycles.

  • 16Dec

    In my inbox. Chef Michael Kiss’ cooking classes are back.

    -JAY
    —————————————

    We are back! Get you 2011 started out right! This is your year to learn how to really cook and take control of your dinner destiny. Join Chef Michael Kiss every Tuesday at 7:00PM as he shares great advice, tips and time saving techniques in his weekly series of themed cooking classes. Come and learn, laugh and taste!

    Classes like “The Cooking 101 series”, a back to basics approach to cooking, from how to hold a knife to how to tell when your pasta is al dente; these classes are the foundation to great skill. One of our favorite series for this year is “I can cook vegetarian” are you ready to take the meat free Wednesday challenge? We will explore amazing vegetarian cooking techniques and talk about the health and ecological benefits of reducing our animal protein intake. Always on the run and can’t seem to find time to eat dinner let alone make a healthy meal at home? Then our “Fast and Delicious” series will show you that with a little effort you can be rewarded with a hot healthy meal in less than 29 ½ minutes. No camera tricks we promise, just real cooking real fast.

    See you in class every Tuesday at 7:00PM.

    Whole Foods Market Cooking Classes are free.

    Email Michael.Kiss@WholeFoods.com to sign up for class.
    Put “Cooking Class” in the subject line.
    Seating is limited so don’t miss out.

    JANUARY 2011 Schedule

    This is your year to learn how to really cook!

    Tuesday January 4th
    7:00 PM
    Omnivore Class:
    Cooking 101; How to Sauté

    Sauté is one of the most versatile methods of cooking. Not only can you use this skill to bring out flavor in your ingredients it is also a super fast way to cook. Join Chef Michael Kiss and learn how to properly sauté everything from chicken and fish to every vegetable you can find. You will even learn the stylish chef flip.

    Tuesday January 11th
    7:00 PM
    Vegetarian Class:
    Get Keen on Greens

    Leafy greens are some of the most nutritionally dense foods on the planet, but they aren’t always tops on our favorite food list. Join Chef Michael Kiss as he helps you through the jungle of great greens. We will talk about all of the different types and their flavors and the best ways to make them something we love to eat. We promise the pickiest eaters will soon say more greens please.

    Tuesday January 18th
    Omnivore Class:
    7:00 PM
    Fast and Delicious; Curried Lamb with Pan Roasted Chick Peas with Winter Radish Salad

    With our fast paced lives we live it is hard to make time to prepare a great meal. Join Chef Michael Kiss as he takes you on a fast and fun ride on how to save time in the kitchen. Dinner will soon be just something wonderful you whip up. How do you make it look so easy?

    Tuesday January 25th
    7:00 PM
    Vegetarian Class:
    I Can Cook Vegetarian

    Are you up for the Challenge? Can you commit to MEAT FREE WEDNESDAY? Well, it won’t be a challenge when you join Chef Michael Kiss and learn how to cook without animal protein. Nutritionally complete and filling meals with amazing flavor that will keep even the biggest steak lover in your family coming back for more. A fun way to make healthy choices sustainable; Take the challenge!

    About Chef Michael Kiss

    Chef Michael is a graduate of Pennsylvania Institute for Culinary Arts in Pittsburgh, PA, but his passions for great tasting food starting years earlier in his family kitchen. He loves to cook all types of food and is always on the lookout to learn something new about people and ingredients and how they come together. Chef Michael has cooked in great restaurants in Chicago IL, Pittsburgh PA and Savannah GA always absorbing the local flair for food along the way. He came to Whole Foods Market in 2004 in search of new frontiers in his sojourn of all things culinary. He needed to know where his food came from and how and why the ways our ingredients are produced can affect our lives. Recently his culinary travels have taken a healthy turn. And over the last year he has changed his entire lifestyle to include exercise, healthy plant based cooking and meditation. Chef Michael is passionate about cooking and life and loves to share his knowledge with all.

    Eat Well!

  • 15Dec

    DCFud was lucky enough to be given an opportunity to interview Spike Mendelsohn, former Top Chef contestant, and the man behind We the Pizza and Good Stuff Eatery. Spike is teaming up with MasterCard and SunTrust (side note: if you have a MasterCard, check out www.mastercardmarketplace.com/suntrust for some fantastic deals from now until the end of year… plenty of gifts for the foodie or chef you need to buy for! And if someone wants to buy me that KitchenAid tabletop mixer or a new knife set, you can find them at a good price here.) This is holiday season, and they were kind enough to donate $5k for Spike’s favorite charity, Horton’s Kids, a Northeast D.C.-based charity designed to provide tutoring, mentoring, enrichment, advocacy, and family support to underprivileged children. In fact, “Santa Spike” will be heading over to Horton’s this afternoon to drop off presents.

    Since the majority of people ask Spike about his time on Top Chef, I figured I wouldn’t, and I’d ask questions that I, as well as friends of mine, wanted to know. Unfortunately, my voice recorder was man-down, so the conversation isn’t verbatim, but it’s pretty darn close!
    JS: Best foodie gifts?
    SM: Omaha Steaks.
    JS: What about vegetarians?
    SM: Omaha Steaks!

    JS: Favorite thing to make for the holidays?
    SM: Apple pie.
    JS: Oh, yum. Any specific type of apple?
    SM: Not really. I’ll mix it up based on the season. You just need apples that aren’t going to make the pie crust soggy, and you can do that by tossing the apples in brown sugar and white sugar and then draining the excess water. The key is to not cook the apples before you make the pie.
    JS: Yum. And that covers my next question, which were holiday cooking tips. Thank you.

    JS: Food fad you wished would be over?
    SM: Cupcakes. I know those cupcake girls are gonna hate me, but cupcakes.
    JS: Have you ever been a fan of the cupcake fad?
    SM: Not really.
    JS: Do you not eat cake?
    SM: I like chocolate cake. Chocolate cake with chocolate icing. I like simple foods.
    JS: Fantastic… leads me to my next question!

    JS: Favorite thing to cook for yourself?
    SM: Sandwiches. Or roast chicken with lemon potatoes.
    JS: Do you make your own bread?
    SM: Not really, but sometimes I make Greek bread for the holidays.

    JS: Foods you despise cooking or eating?
    SM: Liver.
    JS: That’s it? Really?
    SM: I eat everything. Except liver.

    JS: You’re from Canada… what’s the possibility of putting poutine (fries covered in cheese curds and gravy) on the menu?
    SM: Actually, we’ve had it on occasion.
    JS: Really? When’s the next time it’ll be back? Canada Day? Boxing Day is coming up, so maybe then?
    SM: Sure, Canada Day, but it’s also a good cold weather comfort food. Fries… cheese curds…
    JS: Covered in gravy. Lots of gravy. Yeah, yum.
    SM: I’ve had people ask for it, but Americans don’t really know about it. I was just in Canada, so I had plenty of poutine up there.

    JS: Guilty food pleasure?
    SM: Popeyes.
    JS: Ooh, spicy?
    SM: Nope, original. With the biscuits. And Chik-Fil-A.
    JS: Good answers.

    JS: What do you like about being a chef in DC?
    SM: The opportunity. Everything in New York has already been done, so it’s nice to be here and be able to start new trends.

    JS: What do you always have in your pantry and/or fridge?
    SM: Fish sauce.
    JS: Haha. My mom is Thai so we always had that in the house.
    SM: A little bit goes a long way!
    JS: So does that smell! Anything else?
    SM: Cornflakes.
    JS: That’s a good combination. Cornflakes and fish sauce.
    SM: Oh yeah, you should try it sometime.
    JS: I’m sure it’ll get you going. Anything else?
    SM: Sriracha sauce, herbs/spices, and Greek olive oil (he brings it from Greece).

    JS: Favorite celebrity chef?
    SM: Anthony Bourdain.

    JS: Do you drink?
    SM: A little.
    JS: Beer, wine, or liquor of choice?
    SM: Hendrick’s and tonic.

    JS: Favorite dish as a child?
    SM: My grandmother’s keftedes (Greek meatballs).
    JS: Do you make them yourself now?
    SM: I do, but I like them more when she makes them.

    JS: Where do you go out to eat in the city?
    SM: Obelisk; Star and Shamrock, the new place; Zaytinya; and, Bistrot Du Coin

    JS: Favorite dish to make for a girlfriend?
    SM: Grilled chicken. Keeping it simple.
    JS: Do you use a rotisserie or the oven?
    SM: The oven. I broil it. Cook it in the oven at about 350°, and turn it to broil for the last half hour.
    JS: Sounds good. I’m stealing that, so thank you.

    JS: Do you drink coffee?
    SM: Yep.
    JS: Where’s your coffee source in D.C.?
    SM: Peregrine . And Starbucks.

    JS: So what’s the end of the year plan for you?
    SM: Well, tomorrow’s my birthday.
    JS: Wow, happy early birthday! How are you celebrating?
    SM: Moving today. And then taking the family to Puerto Rico.
    JS: Worst customer stories?
    SM: Hmmm… I’m trying to think of something funny… Back at our family restaurant, I worked in the back for a bit, and then was able to work as a host. One night, a very attractive woman came in with a man, and I sat them. The next night, the same woman came back, but with a different man. I said to her something along the lines of, “Good to see you again. Guess you must have really enjoyed that meal to come back today.” She turned beet red. Turns out she was an escort.
    JS: Haha. That is awesome. And awkward. Good story.

    For my first interview for DCFud, I definitely lucked out with Spike. He was a blast to interview and is obviously a fantastic chef. In fact, I was eating the White Pizza (so garlicky and delicious) from We the Pizza as I wrote this article. The keys may have a little grease on them, but that’s ok

    -JDS

  • 12Dec

    For those of you in that have not heard of, or been to, Rodman’s Discount Gourmet, for shame.  Actually, I wouldn’t be surprised if many people in the area haven’t heard of Rodman’s.  I only learned about this spot a couple of weeks ago from a friend of mine, who was looking to buy Crabtree & Evelyn products in the District.  She had stumbled across Rodman’s and was hooked.

    Rodman’s is located in the Friendship Heights section of Northwest, and from the outside, doesn’t look like anything special; just a normal neighborhood store.  However, once you enter the store front, you realize you’ve now entered the greatest and most diverse grocery and everything-else-under-the-sun store.  I grew up going to international stores, since my mom is Thai, and she would be on the hunt for a certain type of vegetable or noodle, but Rodman’s is definitely anything above and beyond what I’ve seen.

    The cuisines available in Rodman’s include Russian, Thai, Mexican, British, French, German, and Filipino (there were plenty of others, but those are the countries from which we purchased goods that day).  There is also a large cheese selection, a produce section, and several aisles of international beers and wine.  I was able to find German Christmas cookies I have not had since I was a child, fig jam I had been on the hunt for since early spring, these Thai sardines that always grossed me out, and canned snails.  I almost purchased a giant wheel of Brie, since it was only $10 (four times the size of a standard President Brie), but then I snapped back into reality and purchased a smaller one.  That being said, the prices are rather comparable to what you would find at a normal grocery store, but you can find good deals like the Brie there.

    Downstairs in Rodman’s is mesmerizing.  In addition to kitchenware, the downstairs had a slew of international beauty products, a pharmacy, and a cleaning products section.  I think we spent about an hour downstairs, looking through the serving pieces and kitchen tools.  A ceramic alligator crafted like a serving dish nearly ended up in my basket (if it’s there when I go back, it was meant to be).  There were pitchers, pepper grinders, cake pans for all occasions, thermometers, utensils, scales, measuring cups, silicone pot holders of all colors, and every other cooking/baking tool ever imagined.

    Needless to say, the store is a paradise for anyone looking for an inclusive international store.  It does get a little crowded, since the aisles are narrow, but fully stocked.  Right now the store is chock full of holiday goodies from around the world, so get there ASAP and stock up.  I know I’ll be going back and getting enough of those German cookies to last until next Christmas season.

    -JDS

  • 06Dec

    I’m not a baker/cook/chef by any stretch of the imagination, but I (and I figure most of the world) love to try a new recipe

    Picture by JDS

    every now and then. A few weeks ago, a friend of mine had posted a link on his Facebook page about the Cherpumple. For those that haven’t seen or heard of the Cherpumple, it’s essentially a dessert version of the turducken (a chicken inside of a duck inside of a turkey). Chef Charles Phoenix had created the Cherpumple, which was an apple pie baked inside a layer of spice cake, a pumpkin pie baked in a layer of golden cake, and a cherry pie baked in a layer of white cake, all stacked together and smothered in cream cheese frosting.

    I decided to make a version of this for Thanksgiving for my friend, Brian, the head chef at Restaurant 3 in Clarendon, as a “Happy Thanksgiving/Congratulations on Being on Bacon Paradise” gift. However, I don’t like cherry pie. It looks like guts and tastes strange, so I decided to create the Pecpumple: an apple pie baked into a vanilla cake, stacked on a pecan pie baked into a butter cake, stacked on a pumpkin pie baked into a spice cake, and covered in cream cheese frosting (frozen pies, boxed cake mix, canned frosting). In my mind, this was a simple feat, but as it got closer to go-time, I began to worry about the structural stability of this monster (guess that half a Master’s in Engineering didn’t help much). Common sense kicked in and reminded me that cake is generally crumbly and pie is generally gooey. These combined could easily make for a disaster, so I made the cakes denser by adding whole milk and eggs, and decreasing the amount of water added (I kept the oil and butter in because no one likes a dry cake).

    The pecan-butter layer was first, since I failed to read the directions on Phoenix’s website and both the pumpkin and apple

    Click for larger pics.

    pies needed to bake and cool first. The process seemed simple enough; make batter, pour some batter in the pan, add pie, add batter, bake, cool, stack, frost, dive in. Nowhere in the directions mentioned how much batter to cover the pie with, so I ended up with a few smoke alarms screeching, and a nice circular design of batter on the bottom of my oven. Luckily, I was able to clean that with no issue and proceeded to bake each layer, each with less batter overflow. There was a ton of excess cake batter remaining, so I baked a couple of cakes for my office and friends while I waited for the layers to cool.

    Obviously, each layer was quite heavy (pie inside of a cake- duh), and after carefully stacking the apple on top of the pecan on top of the pumpkin and quickly frosting each layer and sides, the Pecpumple was born. Except for that hole where the apple pie filling was oozing out (patched shut with a scoop of frosting), it was just as I pictured. It was a tower of happiness; of pies and cake and frosting and all-around deliciousness.

    Welcome to the world, Pecpumple.

    We brought it to the restaurant, where we would be having Thanksgiving dinner, and placed it in the refrigerator to set a little bit longer. When it was time for dessert, Brian and his sous chef, Sean, cut the masterpiece. One word: glorious. Actually, if I’m being honest, the one word would be “shocked”. The Pecpumple stayed together and didn’t look like the result of a food fight between Betty Crocker and Mrs. Smith. And it was delicious. Very sweet, of course, but a great combination of desserts, and a nice switch-up from the usual pumpkin or sweet potato pie that is synonymous with Thanksgiving. Would I do this again? You bet. Should everyone try this? You bet. Will you get a little stabby when the crust on the pie burns and you have to shave it off with a knife because your oven is old and cooks uneven? You bet. But you laugh and move on. They always say that nothing that’s ever worth doing is ever easy, and this is something that is definitely worth doing. And if it ends up collapsing or imploding, oh well, you now have six desserts smashed into one, so grab a fork and dig in.

    The first slice of the Pecpumple. Eat your heart out, world.

    -Guest Blogger Janet (JDS)

  • 06Dec

    I often grab oatmeal in a cafe in the morning:

    Starbucks: It is instant oatmeal, but the toppings are very good. You can choose from one (or all) of the following: mixed nuts, mixed dried fruit, or brown sugar, and all there packets probably have double what you need if you are using more than one type.  They usually ask if you want  it “with everything.”

    Cosi: The oatmeal isn’t instant and they say it is steel-cut, but it has the texture of regular oatmeal. It is pre-sweetened with brown sugar. You get to choose 2 toppings (brown sugar, pistachios, fresh strawberries, whipped cream, break bars (which are like a hard cookie), or dried cranberries). The toppings don’t seem selected well (although I like choice of fresh strawberries). You don’t need brown sugar since it is sweetened already. Whipped cream and whatever a break bar is don’t seem necessary, since this isn’t a dessert. Pistachio seems like the wrong choice of nuts for oatmeal; slivered almonds would be a better choice. It seems like someone who doesn’t eat oatmeal for breakfast designed the topping choices. I often choose Starbucks oatmeal over Cosi even though the oatmeal itself is instant, just because the toppings are so much better and the oatmeal is unsweetened (so I can control the sweetness with brown sugar).

    The Cosi on King Street was out of coffee lids and sleeves, which makes no sense for a coffeehouse/cafe.

    Au Bon Pain: The Pentagon City location had two types of oatmeal cooked and ready Sunday morning. The standard one was fine, but the apple cinnamon had too large chunks of the wrong kind of apple -it was flavorless- and the apples should have been peeled (they were ugly). maybe slivers of granny smith would work better. The toppings were fine: raisins, craisins, granola, chocolate chips, brown sugar, etc.

    I did notice that Pain De Quotidien (on King Street) has steel-cut oatmeal, but it is twice the price ($6) and to sit there I have to deal with table service and tipping…for a place that looks and feels like a Cosi. I haven’t tried their oatmeal, but I still might; it just feels weird dealing with table service to sit down for 15 minutes.

    Update (12/7/10):

    I stopped by Pain De Quotidien this morning and ordered the oatmeal to go.  They asked if I wanted whole , skim, soy, or no milk, and I chose whole.  You have to enjoy the chewiness you get from steel-cut oats.  It had some good quality mixed berried on top, and was a larger potion than  Starbucks or Cosi would give (Au Bon Pain has sizing options). The oatmeal was unsweetened, I was not given a sweetening option such as brown sugar, and the berries wouldn’t cover that amount of oatmeal. There is apparently a discount for “to go” orders, so the price was $4.50 instead of the $6 you would pay if you sat down (and then you would be expected to tip the server.) I’ll probably order this one again but ask for sugar.

    -JAY

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